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THE TEACHER 197
himself with them. It is somewhat similar to what takes place in a
gymnasium, where teacher and apparatus are necessary. There,
the master teaches the use of the parallel bars and the swings,
shows how weights are to be handled, etc. The pupils use these
objects, and through the use of them are developed strength, agility,
and all that can be developed when muscular energy is put in
connection with the various means which the gymnasium offers
for exercising it.
This gymnastic teacher is not a lecturer, he is a guide. And,
as he would never succeed by speeches on the theory of gymnas-
tics, in making robust a single one of his pupils, so the old school
failed absolutely in strengthening the individuality and the per-
sonality of the children. On the contrary, in our schools, where
the mistress limits herself to pointing out and directing, and there
is placed at the child's disposal a gymnasium of mental exercises,
he grows stronger, becomes an individual of robust character, is
properly disciplined and acquires an inward health which is the
direct and brilliant result of the liberation of the mind.
The study which the mistress must carry out is twofold in
character, for she must know very well the work which is expected
from her, and the function of the material, that is the means of
development. It is difficult to train theoretically such a teacher, who
ought to fashion herself, who ought to learn to observe, to be
calm, patient and humble, to restrain her own impulses, and who,
in her delicate mission, has a task which is eminently practical.
She, in her turn, has more need of a gymnasium for her jnind than
of a book for her intelligence.
Yet what she has to do can be learnt easily and without mis-
take, that part of it which regards the mistress as a person who
places the child in a position of activity. She ought to be able
to choose the appropriate object, and place it before him in such a
way as to make him understand it and arouse his keen interest in it.
The teacher must therefore be well acquainted with the mate-
rial and keep it present in the forefront of her mind at all times.
She must acquire exact knowledge of the technique which has